June 4, 2008

Service-oriented Submission/Submissive

This post has been sitting as a Pending post since mid-March; I drag it out and think about it, make some notes, but have never been able to bring it forward into the light of day. Over the weekend a convergence of recent reading and discussions with a girl online seems to have been the lightening bolt that finally helped me focus when she said, "Please don't be confused, I am not a masochist, I was trained as a service-oriented submissive."

Some of that material includes:
In this sector of the blog realm, so often the quality of dominance is tied to the degree of sadism/physicality involved/exhibited, and it is much less common to find discussions of the mental aspects of control, in ways that incorporate all aspects of the submissive’s daily lives. But in fact, the essence of dominance is control; it is not hard, but perhaps not likely, to imagine a D/s relationship where there are no sexual or sadistic components, but pure and straight forward control. This control can be exerted over every aspect of the submissive’s daily life; how she dresses, when she sleeps and awakens, what she eats and when, how she conducts herself in interactions with other people. Clearly, in many relationships, while there are heavy levels of BDSM and S&M, there is also a more broad reaching control, perhaps with the exception of sexual submissives, or bedroom submissives.

In Persephone's recent post about tea party, she talks about her owner wanting “. . . light and enjoyable interactions between us . . . he prefers the twee 'tea party' to describe what he envisions . . . really different because of its absence of most-- if not all-- of the usual bdsm trappings.”

A Google search for “service-oriented submissive” includes a Wikipedia reference:

Service-oriented (sexuality)

In human sexuality, Service-oriented is a term used in the BDSM community to refer relationship dynamic.

In a service-oriented relationship, the focus is on how the submissive can contribute resources to the dominant partner, provide for some of their needs or advance their goals. These relationships may or may not also include romantic feelings.

A common example of such a relationship would be one in which the submissive and dominant were romantically attracted and the submissive is collared to the dominant, indicating that they are "in service" to that dominant. The collar may well be predicated on certain performance levels or the usefulness of that submissive in specific areas. If those things were to change or dissipate the couple may remain romantically linked but often the collar will be removed.

For the submissive in such a relationship, the collar is seen as a status symbol signifying the approval and acknowledgement of a person they wish to serve. They often take great pleasure and pride in their status and relationship.

For the dominant, the benefits are practical as well as emotional. Many take great pleasure in being 'served' in this manner, and of course having the additional resources available is of immense utility.

Categories: Sex stubs BDSM Human sexuality

While this Wikipedia article is titled Service-oriented (sexuality), the content sounds like a domestic arrangement, or an administrator or secretary, perhaps they were not willing to delve into the deeper inter-personal aspects.

It occurs to me that the Daddy dom/little girl dynamic may very well be a clear example of this service-oriented D/s relationship. Another flavor is Domestic Discipline, a special form of dominance and submission. And I am reminded of The Submissive Wife Project that I stumbled across last year. I am sure there are others.

There seems to be so much more depth in the nature of D/s or service-oriented submission than just BDSM, but so often it is all wrapped in the same blanket.


  1. There seems to be so much more depth in the nature of D/s or service-oriented submission than just BDSM, but so often it is all wrapped in the same blanket.

    Too often, in fact. I responded to another friend's blog the other day and mentioned that it took me a year and a half to find ANYTHING related to service submission. I spent entirely too long not having a name for what drove me and feeling very out of place because it wasn't something that was discussed amongst those I talked to or with.

    It's late so I haven't investigated the links yet, but I have this marked and wanted to thank you for giving me more tidbits to sift through. -smiles-

  2. Is what you call "service-oriented" submission not just another word for "slave", in the true sense of the word?

    A friend of mine is a "slave agent" who deals in preparing slaves for purchase (very expensive purchase), and certainly from what he has described to me, you are describing an honest to goodness slave.

  3. dara - what are the feelings you have, have you found other resources? It is a relatively new concept to me and I am not sure about the exact nature of it, I would be interested to hear more.

    charli - from what I have read and seen it is not slave-based at all. It seems to occupy the other end of the spectrum, personal service, domestic submission and involve little BDSM, but I am hoping to learn more. It may be one of those phrases that has wide and conflicting interpretations to various people. I hope to learn and understand more.

    Perhaps others like dara will comment and discuss it's nature as they see it.

  4. Yes but...that is what a slave is....someone who attends to the needs of her Master. I am not talking about a sexual slave, I am talking about a slave, slave. As I said, my friend, who is very knowledgeable in such matters, deals in slaves, these slaves are not just sexual, although that would likely be part of their service (if so desired by the Master). They take care of the house, cook....basically attend to ANY needs the Master has....sexual needs are perhaps one area but certainly not a necessary one.

  5. You are absolutely right charli, thank you. I guess my mind was focused on the "not a masochist" and BDSM perspective , and viewing things a bit narrowly. The kind of relationship a service-oriented submissive would identify with might very well be a slave. And I can imagine the depth of the commitment would vary by situation.

  6. I would agree that it is perhaps too-often that definitions of D/s are so intertwined with that of BDSM, as if to imply that all submissive personalities include masochistic, pain-slut or bondage desires.

    I think 'service' submission could easily be likened to the 'service industry' -- anything that you might be obligated to pay for, is a service. Housekeeping, laundry, cooking, running errands, fetching coffee, the list is nearly endless without ever needing to delve into more erotic or BDSM displays. (Think: administrative assistants, waitressing, housekeepers, etc.)

    On one end of the spectrum could be the independent american (western?) modern female that can't stomach 'submitting' to a dominant male without mentally labeling him as a 'chauvanist pig', unless it includes the pain triggers of spanking or anal or.. whatever it is that does it for her. On the opposite end you may find the traditional japanese housewife or the middle eastern muslim woman who submits and defers to her husband out of habit and culture, without ever thinking to label it as D/s, because to her, it isn't. It's simply custom.

  7. Actually, there are many service-oriented submissives - NOT slaves - subs that enjoy not only serving the basic needs of their Master but ideally, anticipating those needs. Sexual service can (but does not need to be) part of that. But it is very much a dynamic and I disagree that to serve you must be designated a slave.

    and I have to say, I disagree with arielmorgan - culture yes, but also misogney - and very much the mind-set that women are still property - and disposable at that - with little worth - the reality of many of those cultures - and still to some extent in the western culture (although things are improving).

    I do not see the issue raised there as similar to a service-oriented submissive. I am a feminist AND a service-oriented submissive - it can and is possible to be both just as my Master is a feminist as well as a dominant who enjoys being served!

  8. I have no doubt there are SO subs and slaves, he slave distinction is a matter of commitment, relationship and dymanics of their partnership.

    I do not think Dominants are misogynists, most M/s or D/s realtionships are based on mutual respect and agreed upon sexual/social relations.

    That does not mean there are not bad people doing bad things under the name and guise of BDSM.

  9. At one point I would have said I was a submissive, but the more I read around and learn about true submissives I realize that I'm not.

    I do enjoy handing over control to my lover. While I do enjoy being tied up, spanked, talked dirty to, and made to mind I'm not into anything sadistic. I think that is the hardest part for me to swallow (and no offense to those that do but it isn't for me) that submissives seem to enjoy the pain. I mean I enjoy a little pain but not the kind that I read about that most submissives engage in.

    I suppose to each their own right?

  10. Naughty,
    You don't have to like pain to be a submissive. Just like a cat doesn't have to hate water just cause s/he's a cat. Or a dog loving water just cause s/he's a dog. Ya get what I mean?

    Just because you think you don't fit into what a 'true' submissive is, doesn't mean you don't? And what is a 'true' submissive. If we fit our own definition of what we believe submission is about, then we are a sub. And the same goes for anything else. If you fit in your own definition, then what's the problem?

    And remember...the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same!


  11. Lucy,

    Good point. I guess I just meant that there seem to be a lot of definitions of being submissive. Maybe I'm not hard core submissive, but I've got some toes dipped into it.

    Yeah, you're right. It is boring all being the same!

  12. Hi there, I just came across your blog and it is great! Will definately bookmark you :)

  13. Thank you for your reply to my blog, it was very very helpful and it was gracious of you to take the time to help me understand what was going on.

    I would love to hear from you again if you ever have the time, I would be honored. Forgive me if there was some better way I could have replied, I'm still new to this site and it's a bit difficult for me to figure out. Thank you again.

  14. Yes, naughty and lucy, there are quite a variety of styles of submission. Someone once tried to categorize them, but of course that is a fools task, but here is a partial stab at it.

    Flavors of Submission

    Welcome shelly and thank you for your kind words.

    Hello again ellie, good to hear from you again, no matter what way you decided or were able to reply, you are most welcome.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. I've always been interested in submission, but I didn't really know it. I'd read a story or a blog post and find myself extremely aroused by it but still say, "That's not me, that's not what I want, I couldn't do that." It's only recently I've realized: there was a piece of all those stories that I wanted - the submission. Even if I didn't relate to the facts of the story - the details of service or extreme bondage or water sports - I was drawn in by the dynamic.

    It's interesting to me that there's so much dividing up of "what kind" of submissive someone might be. Submission is yielding to authority, isn't it? A simple construct, easy to define.

    We make choices about what kind of authority we'll submit to, and negotiate what kind of instructions we'll accept. We make these choices based on our own desires for satisfaction. Selfishly, in fact.

    And that's where the word submission suddenly becomes confusing to me all over again.

  17. David,
    I remember a very dear friend of mine retelling me a moment in her past when she was younger (nearly a decade before i knew her) wherein she let another woman who was older than her dictate nearly every facet of her life. Clothes, diet, who she could/should date, etc. I found myself quite enamored with this previously unknown aspect of my friend's life, but part of what stimulated me was the sadistic qualities of the older woman. Here there was no sex involved, and it was my friend who was providing a service (acting as her toy/doll), and there was no bondage or pain associated. But definitely sadism.

  18. Very interesting Diety, I have known some who had similar control relationships. I understand your use of the term sadism although it is outside the generally accepted interpretation of the word, the derivation of pleasure as a result of the suffering of others. I think most equate that to S&M.

    Did your friend find the control pleasurable, or was this being imposed by an authority she had no choice to not obey?

  19. Post-experience, as she was recalling it to me (she'd actually blocked out a portion of it from her mind), she found it very pleasurable. While it was consensual, i think she found it too overwhelming at the time to really gain any pleasure from it. The demands on her forced her to only focus on compliance, and not her own reactions to the situation (if that makes sense).